.. I know this is a taboo subject to speak of : but I found when out at night by myself in Vientienne it was extremely difficult to avoid confrontations with local prostitutes. As I travel "solo"I would notice while walking at night the girls would follow me and if I crossed the street once I noticed them they would also cross the street. Of course any form of contact , whether it was speech or being stopped in some form was always to be avoided but I found here that the women were extremely aggressive if they were not being noticed. and maybe three at a time that would try and "bail you up". Usually it is always a "sorry not tonight". This can be a damned annoying situation . Anyway, here I found it to be a real problem.They had the hostels targeted along with the male guests..
I saw this happening at a couple of temples. Some enterprising locals offer to release caged birds for a small fee. It works out at about 50 cents per bird. My question is, "Why were they captured in the first place?'. Basically they want you to feel sorry for the birds and and do your bit to secure their freedom. The birds are soon back in their cages though - I stayed at that temple for a while - long after most other folk had left and I saw how they went about recapturing all of their semi-tame little birds.
Fun Alternatives: The best way to support their freedom is by just not supporting the practice. They wouldn't be put into cages in the first place if noone was paying for their release.
My great-grandfather made money selling his trained pigeons to the local gun club, whichis kind of the same thing. I still don't approve though :-)
It's everywhere you go and there's nothing you can do about it. At most tourist attractions two admission prices are clearly advertised - one for tourists and one for locals. Sometimes it's a little more and sometimes double. I guess they charge tourists extra because we can pay it.
Unique Suggestions: If you go in knowing this and accept it, then it won't bother you. There's no point worrying about 50 cents here and a dollar there because this is often what the difference amounts to. At least they are open about it - it's always clearly advertised so there are no surprises.
Ganja must be one of the biggest tourist traps in Lao.
Here is my theory:
the locals sell cheap ganja to tourists for around 20 000 kip (2 usd), wich is good :-)
BUT when you get your munchies....
you will qickly spend your well earned money on exensive food like: pizza, banana pancake and fruit shake (can be cheap) .... :-)
Unique Suggestions: If you are traveling on a budget i recommend you stickto sticky rice and sunflowerseeds for the munchies :-)
Beggers, especially young kids come out in the morning. They are always happy and greet you loudly "sabaidi" with both hands close together.
There are a lot of them, carrying little brother or sister on their back. You dont know what to do with them.
Unique Suggestions: If you are not prepare to give, just smile and said no. They will then leave you alone..
In some tourist agencies and restaurants you can buy this "hand made" city plan, full of advertising.
It costs 2 USD and is OK if you have nothing else, but...
Unique Suggestions: if you arrive by plane you can have one FOR FREE at the airport. In the same hall where U get the visa there are piles of them. So take one there...
... or take several and sell them in Vientiane, LOL
This a Vicrory Gate which construction they stopped at the end of 60's. If you want a fine view all around Vientiane, climb up to the gate otherwise there is not much to see. There are some souvenir shops inside.
Unique Suggestions: Go to top and take some photos.
is a bit of a disappointment. A good location by the river with a view of the Mittaphap bridge. There was nothing ethnic about the place, a good place for a few relaxing moments, to refresh yourself with a drink while enjoying the river...
Anousavari Monument is a French-looking triumphal arch built in 1969 before the communist take-over and located a few miles away from Vientiane center. It's placed right in the middle of a road, north east of Lane Xang Rd. The monument is dedicated to the Lao soldiers who died in wars defending their country, but the reason for visiting it is to (officially) climb it up for great views. Problem is: there's nothing to look onto, from the top.
Unique Suggestions: Bring a very powerful zoom and take pics of That Luang in the distance, or else count the number of cars: you'll be amazed at how few youcan see,giving that Vientiane is the capital.
Fun Alternatives: Save the 1,000 kip (or so) climbing fee and give it to someone in need - there's enough people in Vientiane who could need thus money, although it's very little (about 10 cents in fact).